By Greg Asimakoupoulos
Special to the Reporter
Covenant Shores’ annual Martin Luther King Observance was held at on Friday, Jan. 18.
The day began with the public unveiling and dedication of a peace pole. The six foot obelisk positioned at the entrance to the campus displays the words “May peace prevail on earth ” in eight languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Swedish and Norwegian) that represents the residents and employees.
The keynote speaker for the afternoon program was the Rev. Harvey Drake, pastor of Emerald City Bible Fellowship in the Rainier Valley. The capacity crowd comprised of staff and residents heard the Rev. Drake reflect on his memories as a middle school student in San Francisco when he heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
Harvey reminded the audience that MLK was a pastor first and a civil rights leader second. Building on that foundation, he suggested that Dr. King’s message was one of both righteousness and justice, and that righteousness must precede justice for it to truly be biblical.
While acknowledging that Dr. King had weaknesses and faults like everyone else, Harvey invited the crowd of senior citizens to emulate the slain reverend’s passion for peace.
At the conclusion of the program the Spirit of Martin Luther King Award Award was presented to Yosh Nakagawa. This Mercer Island resident was 10 years old in 1942 when he and his parents were forced from their home in Seattle and transported to a concentration camp for Japanese Americans in Idaho. Following World War II Yosh returned to Seattle with a firsthand perspective of prejudice.
Yosh graduated from Garfield High School (which he attended with music great Quincy Jones).
He began working as a stock boy at Osborn and Ulland Sporting Goods eventually becoming president of the company. In the process he became personal friends of Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King and Jackie Robinson.
Yosh was selected for the recognition by the Diversity Awareness Partners at The Shores because of his lifelong commitment to human rights and “Jesus’ call to love our enemies.” In 2002, Yosh was elected vice president of the American Baptist denomination.
The Spirit of Martin Luther King Award is awarded annually to a member of the community or a friend of Covenant Shores who embodies the message of Dr. King. Last year the award was presented to Harold Spooner, vice president of community impact for Covenant Retirement Communities.